DanceBlue 5K kicks off public fundraising events

By Sarah Wainright

Students and community members can put their best foot forward for children with cancer tomorrow morning at the second annual DanceBlue 5K Run for the Kids.

Runners and walkers of all abilities are welcome to participate in the race, which begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow at Commonwealth Stadium next to the Alumni Tent, said Erin Priddy, special events chair for DanceBlue and a biology junior.

Tomorrow’s run is the second biggest fundraiser for DanceBlue apart from the actual dance marathon. Because only students are allowed to dance in the marathon on Feb. 22, Saturday’s run provides a way for the local community to get involved, Priddy said. The run is the first public fundraising event for DanceBlue 2008.

David Ritchie, overall chair for DanceBlue, said he enjoys seeing Lexington residents and people from all over the state come together for a beneficial cause.

“It is a great way to get your Saturday morning started, and it is such a great cause,” said Ritchie, a biology senior. “You are helping kids in Kentucky who have cancer overcome their daily struggles.”

Awards will be given to the male and female individuals placing first, second and third overall, and first and second in various age groups.

Stitches, the new mascot for the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, will help cheer on the runners, and radio station 104.5 the Cat will be there as well.

Last year about 100 people participated in the 5K run, including UK students, Lexington residents, university faculty, physicians and cancer survivors.

After all of last year’s DanceBlue events, a total of $241,514.64 was raised to help the patients of the UK Pediatric Oncology Clinic.

All of DanceBlue’s proceeds go directly to the Golden Matrix Fund, which provides emotional support for families of the children treated at the UK Pediatric Oncology Clinic, as well as for cancer research.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Moscow, chief of pediatric hematology and oncology at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, participated in the 5K run last year. DanceBlue helps pediatric oncology as it reaches to become a top-20 program, he said.

“It makes a significant difference in our ability to help children with cancer,” Moscow said.

The event has multiple advantages for participants as well, said Alex McIlvaine, teams recruitment captain for DanceBlue.

“The money goes to a good cause and it is also a great way to stay physically active,” said McIlvaine, an agricultural biotechnology senior. “I don’t see how anyone could pass this up.”

Those interested in participating can pre-register for the race from 4 to 7 p.m. today at John’s Run Walk Shop, 317 S. Ashland Ave., for $16. Participants can also register from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. tomorrow at the race for $18.